Date: Wednesday, 6 December 2023
Time: 13.00

Location: ERB-001, Engineering Research Building, University of Limerick

Register your attendance here by Monday, December 4

The Faculty of Education and Health Sciences is pleased to invite you to attend the second public lecture in the Knowledge with Impact series as presented by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions recipients: Dr. Elaine Smith and Dr. Jenna Lorusso. A light lunch will be provided on the day.


Dr. Elaine Smith will present "Mobilising Solidarity: How social media can motivate or polarise social movements":

The MobiliseSolidarity project aims to elucidate how support for minority rights movements can be mobilised among the public by capitalising on the influences of social norms and the ease at which they are spread through social media platforms. Though social media can be a tool for mobilisation (e.g. #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter), little is known about the psychological impacts of perceiving messages of solidarity online. This project examines whether and how these messages influence advantaged groups’ engagement in indigenous rights movements, and how these messages impact the indigenous groups themselves. We propose that sharing different normative messages facilitates different psychological motivations for engaging in solidarity-based social movements.

This lecture will outline a planned series of studies to investigate whether social norms fostered online can mobilise solidarity through an emergent social identity, and test the psychological mechanisms underlying this normative influence, such as anger, and perceptions of efficacy. The project will also examine how exposure to supportive advantaged group norms impact indigenous groups’ own willingness to engage in protests. We will further test the potential polarising effects of messages of support on those who have high levels of prejudice towards indigenous peoples. This project will expand the psychology of social movements by presenting a novel normative approach to solidarity. The findings hope to be able to assist indigenous rights organisations in understanding how framing of social media campaigns can better mobilise public support.

Dr. Jenna Lorusso will present "Powering up Physical Education: Becoming policy pioneers who shape tomorrow's solutions today":

Physical education, when provided in a quality form, develops healthy, active, and engaged citizens who form the basis of sustainable development, particularly in areas of good health and wellbeing (goal 3) and quality education (goal 4). However, quality physical education provision is in decline globally. Several causal factors are implicated. Sub-optimal policies and policy configurations have been identified as critical factors given that policies influence virtually all aspects of physical education realities (e.g., curriculum content, teacher standards, instructional practices, student outcomes).

In this presentation, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellow Dr Jenna Lorusso will share about her, and Professor Ann MacPhail’s work to address the need to build physical education stakeholders’ capacity to engage with policy so to as improve quality provision. Specifically, she will share their three-phase fellowship project which entails: (a) identifying key facilitators, barriers, and content in the development of policy capacity; (b) translating complicated policy process experiences into practical policy lessons; and (c) developing a preparatory policy engagement programme for quality physical education (PEP-4-QPE) that is evidence-informed, internationally-applicable, and available as an Open Educational Resource. This project engages international physical education stakeholders (i.e., teachers, teacher educators, policymakers, professional development providers, professional association directors) in co-design, co-creation, and co-assessment citizen science via the methods of the Delphi technique, participatory research, and case study.

The potential scientific, economic, and societal impacts of this research are aligned with contemporary European and global development agendas, including that of UNESCO, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization, who have recently outlined that investment in quality physical education is a ‘low-cost/high-impact action’ and that, at present, there is critical need to prioritize attention to, and action on, PE policy to improve quality provision.